Surrounded by members of Belmont University’s Class of 2014, today Belmont President Dr. Bob Fisher announced the names of the campus’ two new freshmen residence halls at an afternoon ribbon cutting ceremony. Adjoined by a central lobby, one hall is being named Patton Hall, in honor of longtime Trustee Carolyn Patton, while the other residence will be called Bear House, reflecting the site of a bear house that was located on Adelicia Acklen’s original property. Together, the six-story halls provide an additional 103,000 square feet of residence space for more than 400 Belmont freshmen.
“Belmont University continues to grow at a remarkable rate, with early enrollment numbers for the coming semester looking strong once again,” Fisher said. “It’s important that Belmont remains student-centered, placing our students’ needs first even as we experience significant enrollment increases. These new halls guarantee that Belmont will provide a unique and innovative space to welcome incoming classes into the heart of campus.”
Carolyn Patton, a 1958 alumna and current member of Belmont’s Board of Trustees, and her husband Clem are responsible for an endowed, merit-based scholarship that provides full tuition for four years to a student with an ACT of 29 who possesses strong leadership potential.
Mrs. Patton said, “Belmont has certainly grown since [I attended], but I am proud of the way it has held on to those qualities that I enjoyed in its early days. Clem and I believe that our country, and indeed the world, needs students in higher education to graduate not with just head knowledge but with the moral and spiritual foundation to become the wise and compassionate people that are so needed in the world of business, ministry, science and, especially, in day-to-day family and home life. We believe Belmont provides this foundation, and we want to help accomplish these goals.”
The other new residence hall provides a unique opportunity to revisit Belmont’s legendary history. When construction began on the new halls last summer, remnants of Adelicia Acklen’s original Bear House and Bowling Alley/Billiards Building were uncovered. Tucked beneath layers of asphalt, these two structures went unnoticed for nearly 100 years, providing those who knew of them little more than mystery as to their exact location and design.
New 90,000 square foot, state-of-the-art academic building houses Schools of Pharmacy and Physical Therapy, Department of Psychological Science
Belmont University celebrated the grand opening of the new 90,000 square foot McWhorter Hall at a ribbon cutting event held on campus this morning. The state-of-the-art academic building houses the Schools of Pharmacy and Physical Therapy, as well as the Department of Psychological Science.
McWhorter Hall is being named in honor of Belmont Trustee Emeritus and Chairman of Clayton Associates, Clayton McWhorter, and his brother, the late pharmacist Fred McWhorter. Both men dedicated their careers to the healthcare field, making a difference in the lives of countless individuals and championing healthcare reform. In addition to his longtime relationship with the University and his work on the School of Pharmacy’s initial Study Team and External Advisory Committee, Clayton is also providing a major leadership gift in support of Belmont’s new academic building.
Belmont President Dr. Bob Fisher said, “This building is a model, 21st century academic facility that will provide the perfect space and environment where our students and faculty can intersect in service to help meet the medical needs of our community and our world. We are honored to have the McWhorter name on the building, knowing that it will endow this space with a legacy of compassionate, professional care for others that our students will be equipped to emulate.”
Clayton McWhorter added, “My brother Fred practiced pharmacy like it should be practiced and stayed true to his profession for more than 50 years, loving every minute of it. I believe he would be honored to have this building bear the McWhorter name, but I’m even more hopeful that the student pharmacists and other health care specialists learning within these walls will look to my brother as a premier model of their profession.”
Pharmacy Care Center, Health Services Center, Drug Information Center and Pharmacy Labs
Designed by Earl Swensson Associates with construction by R.C. Mathews, McWhorter Hall continues the innovation for which Belmont University has become known. The facility will emphasize integrated, “hands on” experiential learning components including a licensed, state-of-the-art Pharmacy Care Center which will provide services to students, faculty and staff while also serving as a training site for student pharmacists. This first floor “living laboratory,” which is located adjacent to Belmont’s expanded Health Services center, will help student pharmacists learn every aspect of opening and running a retail pharmacy business. Clients of the pharmacy will be offered personal service in a managed care environment.
The second floor of McWhorter Hall also offers numerous spaces to serve pharmacy students’ needs. In the pharmacy lab, student pharmacists will be making various pharmaceutical products (ointments, powders, creams, etc.), while the Drug Information Center serves the faculty and student pharmacists with a state-of-the-art area to search, assimilate, and transfer information to health care providers that is up to date and patient specific. The center also provides educational programs for post graduate pharmacists from area hospitals. Pharmacy faculty laboratories in the building provide over 5,500 square feet for discovery, innovation and education. Faculty will immediately begin work on projects providing safer, better pharmaceuticals and insight and treatment approaches for various central nervous system diseases, human cell malformations and cancers, therapies for the eye, and improved formulations for pharmaceuticals.
Dr. Phil Johnston, dean of the School of Pharmacy, said, “This new facility is a dream come true for Belmont University, our faculty and for our student pharmacists. It is a privilege to work in this environment and with these bright young professional people. Here, we are able to provide a top notch educational program that prepares student pharmacists to succeed in the world of pharmacy.”
Additional Lab Spaces for Interdisciplinary Education
Also housed within McWhorter Hall are a variety of laboratory spaces dedicated to permitting research and educating future occupational therapists (OT) and physical therapists (PT). Specifically, the first floor is a joint OT/PT Health and Wellness Lab that contains state-of-the art research equipment that spans balance assessment, strength (torque) evaluation, driving simulation, virtual reality exercise activities, work simulation and whole body vibration. The second floor is a joint Human Performance Lab I, with work hardening equipment and the facilities needed to teach a variety of hands-on classes. The third floor contains the Human Performance Lab II, a joint lab space designed for instruction and hands-on evaluation and treatment activities.
Trustee provides lead gift for renovation of Belmont Heights sanctuary to create classical concert venue
Belmont University announced today that a lead gift has been secured for the renovation of university-owned Belmont Heights Baptist Church’s main sanctuary to provide the campus a new, large concert venue suitable for classical performances. The congregation of Belmont Heights Baptist Church will continue to be able to worship in the renovated sanctuary and will enjoy the benefits of the much-improved acoustics. The McAfee family, which has supported Belmont University for years, is providing this “lead gift challenge” for the renovation project.
Belmont President Dr. Bob Fisher said, “We are very grateful to the McAfee family for this generous gift. Their commitment to the university and support of this project means that we will have a Concert Hall to match the high quality of our music programs, and one that will appropriately showcase the amazing talent of our performing arts students.”
Carolyn McAfee has served on Belmont’s Board of Trustees since 2006, and her late husband Jim, president and CEO of Hallmark Systems, Inc., served on the Board from 2002 until his untimely death in 2004. In addition to their time on the Board, the McAfees also support Belmont through an endowed scholarship in their name for School of Music students with a major in organ or classical music. The McAfees’ son and daughter-in-law, Tom and Julie McAfee, joined Carolyn McAfee at today’s ceremony announcing the project.
“My late husband Jim, my son Tom daughter-in-law, Julie, and I have always been enthusiastic about supporting Belmont as a leader in Christian education,” said Carolyn McAfee. “Belmont’s School of Music has earned national recognition for the quality of its programs and the breadth of its vision. Our family is proud to kick off the fundraising efforts for this new Concert Hall, which will match those high standards with a performance space suitable to the talent these programs attract.”
Dr. Cynthia Curtis, dean of Belmont’s College of Visual and Performing Arts, added, “The new Concert Hall, which houses a 55-rank Aeolian Skinner organ, provides an outstanding venue for performances of the University’s classical choral and instrumental ensembles, including the symphony orchestra, wind ensemble, Chorale and 200-voice Oratorio Chorus. The College of Visual and Performing Arts is tremendously grateful to the McAfee family for their generous gift which helps sustain the rich artistic history of the Belmont campus and active cultural life of Nashville.”
The design concept for the new Concert Hall was developed in consultation with the architects and acousticians involved with the construction of the Schermerhorn Symphony Center. Acousticians have conducted extensive, carefully documented scientific studies and developed a plan for the building that eliminates ambient noise, expands the volume of space to optimal acoustic proportions for a large orchestra and chorus and creates optimal sound diffusion.
Fundraising for the new Concert Hall will continue as the total renovation is anticipated to be $7 million.
To fight the effects of age and weather, Belmont’s historic Bell Tower is undergoing a restoration. Specifically, window frames, tuck pointing and mortar must be replaced before they rot and fall away. The Bell Tower restoration is scheduled to be completed before students arrive on campus in the fall.
The project costs roughly $400,000, received entirely from gifts made to the Bell Tower campaign. In addition to the $400,000 restoration costs, another $100,000 is being raised as an endowment fund to support any future maintenance needed.
As of Aug. 3, the University has received 974 gifts totaling $361,285. The gifts range in size from $1 to $50,000. Helen Kennedy, a member of Belmont’s first graduating class and member of the Board of Trustees, has pledged a $100,000 challenge gift, matching every donation dollar for dollar up to $100,000. All donors will be honored with their names on a plaque in the Bell Tower’s first floor chapel. The plaque will be unveiled at the celebration of completion of the restorations on Saturday, Oct. 2 at 2 p.m. All donors, faculty, staff and students are invited to attend.
Vicky Tarleton, Office of Development, said, “A lot of people have memories associated with the Tower that are really very good memories. It’s one of several true Nashville landmarks.”
The renovations are being done by Republic Construction, which specializes in historical preservation. Republic Construction has also worked on the Ryman Auditorium, the Hermitage, the Tennessee State Capitol and the Belmont Mansion. The work to be done includes replacing windows and window frames, ironwork, stabilization and tuck pointing.
The Belmont Mansion and Bell Tower were built from 1850-1853 as a summer residence for Joseph A. S. Acklen and his wife Adelicia Hayes Franklin. The Bell Tower originally served as a water tower for the gardens and household needs and was converted to a bell tower in the early 20th century. During the Civil War, the tower was used as a signal tower for the Union Army who was encamped on the estate.
If you would like to donate to the Bell Tower fund, contact Vicky Tarleton at 615-460-6001 or Vicky.Tarleton@belmont.edu. The deadline to donate to the Bell Tower campaign is Aug. 31.
Belmont University announced today the receipt of more than $10 million from the estate of the late Ed and Bernice Johnson, long-time friends of the university.
For 16 years, Ed and Bernice Johnson ran a neighborhood gas station on Belmont Boulevard. During the Depression, the couple often helped Herman Lay keep his potato chip trucks on the road by allowing him to pay on credit. In 1948, Lay offered the Johnsons a chance to buy stock in his company. The couple’s initial investment of $8,000 grew exponentially with the company, which is now part of Frito-Lay and Pepsi-Co Inc. Following Bernice Johnson’s death in January 1998 (her husband died in 1994), $8 million from the Johnson estate was given to Belmont and directed toward scholarships in the College of Business Administration, primarily for accounting students. Additional funds from the Johnson estate were placed in a 10-year charitable remainder annuity trust, and those accumulated monies, $10 million, are now being released to Belmont, making the couple’s total bequest to the university equal more than $18 million. This represents one of the largest gifts in the history of Belmont University.
Belmont President Dr. Bob Fisher said, “It should come as no surprise to anyone to discover the generosity of the late Ed and Bernice Johnson, a couple who believed in and supported a friend even in difficult financial times. Their remarkable philanthropic spirit will now benefit a new generation of students and future leaders. Belmont University is very grateful for this gift and extremely proud to be associated with such a dynamic legacy.”
The $10 million from the trust will be directed into the general university endowment. The original $8 million donation was placed in the Lawrence Glover Scholarship Fund, which honors retired Belmont accounting professor Lawrence Glover, who once served as the Johnsons’ accountant and first recommended Belmont as a worthy investment.
In 2004, Belmont honored Ed and Bernice Johnson with the unveiling of an original statue by Nashville sculptor Russ Faxon, which now graces the plaza on the Belmont Boulevard side of the campus adjacent to the fountain in front of the entrance to the Maddox Grand Atrium. The site is directly across the street from the Circle K convenience store, which sits on the site of a previous Esso gas station that was owned by the Johnsons. The statue portrays the Johnsons waving goodbye to a student.